Springhill pushes tax rate 15¢

Christopher Gooding
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SPRINGHILL - Mayor Allen Dill is expecting public outcry after Springhill raised its taxes during a special meeting Tuesday, which also saw the passing of its budget.

The residential and commercial tax rates jumped 15 cents to $2.25 and $5.38 per $100 of assessed property. In the long haul, Mayor Dill said, a home assessed at $50,000 can expect to pay $75 more.

"The previous council lowered the tax rate 2 cents so we had to automatically increase the rate 4cents to catch up with inflation," Dill said.

Garbage collection, too, will increase $10 per year and sewage rate increased $25 to $175 for the year. Council did drop, however, a controversial $24 fee on tax bills that was being used to pay for a new fire truck for its volunteer force.

Council was elected in October into a fiscal year marked with unexpected costs and expenditures, Dill says, including an agreement through the Police Association of Nova Scotia that ran upwards of $500,000 more than expected. Service Nova Scotia, the mayor said, has offered relief but expects changes from Springhill in how it prepares for the future.

"The budget process involved citizen input and also involved all directors and council in several six-hour meetings to go through the budget," Dill said. "Service Nova Scotia gave us permission for the deficit from the PANS agreement to be done over three years, however, they've also cautioned us to start a reserve fund for unforeseen circumstances like the court order to pay in the PANS agreement."

The town will have to provide Service Nova Scotia with is plan in September of this year showing how it will be dealing with the deficit and its reserve fund.

Sharing the burden with its citizens, Springhill made major cuts to its budget, putting an end to its financial support of a tourist bureau and lowering its season and part-time hirings. Directors also did not receive increases to their budgets mirroring inflation.

"I think that when you realize that in Nov. when council was advised our debt-ratio was 23 per cent and couldn't borrow and Springhill's debt-ratio is now 13 per cent we're below where we came in," Dill said.

Springhill has a future, Dill says, and projects the community hitting sustainable levels between two to two-and-a-half years from now.

cgooding@springhillrecord.com

Organizations: Police Association of Nova Scotia

Geographic location: Nova Scotia

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  • colin
    January 18, 2010 - 11:21

    Well what a surprise!! Taxes raised!!
    Bring in the RCMP, reduce the amount of employees in Town Hall, at one time with more population there were two employees and they did all the work with a pencil and without computers. The roads are in terrible shape. To top it all off there is supposed to be a Provincial Jail coming here that would pay more taxes to the town. Also, if the taxes were lower there would be more people living here and paying taxes, thus spreading out the tax base. i guess it doesn't pay to put educated people in positions of authority. I always said that business people should be politicians because they are used to dealing with money.
    What a shame I finally though we had a good council that was going to do things for the good of the people.

  • i told ya
    January 18, 2010 - 11:16

    if you voted for Dill then this is whats going to happen... all he thinks about is money money money and more money so for the people that voted for him thanks alot... I didnt vote for him

  • Citizen
    January 18, 2010 - 11:15

    Please you guys are whiners......Do you not understand that there is a deficiet and the only way to get rid of one is to make money. As citizens of Springhill do you not feel any sense of loyalty or pride, to dig sooo deep for a raise of .15 on your taxes to help out? As far as bringing in the RCMP, do you guys know that on the weekends there is only 1 member policing the WHOLE county. Great coverage huh, response time would be sooo much better with them I'm sure LOL Wait then you guys would complain that no one is there to save you when you need it. Guess what guys, suck it up buttercup and support your council. You don't have to agree with everything they want but if you want your town to survive it needs the cash to do it.

  • Troy
    January 18, 2010 - 11:14

    Well you could always move to Oxford!!! You don't know what expensive is,,,try it out here ,,its retarded,,,I think your best to stay where you are at,,cause when you start paying $6 for a pound of bacon and 5.50 for a dozen hot dogs,,,you might not think that 15cents of a hike is all that bad in taxes. You guys got it good$$$$$ wise that is.

  • Bob
    January 18, 2010 - 11:13

    *I guess it doesn't pay to put educated people in positions of authority*

    or a better way of putting it

    *I guess educated people can't be paid enough to put themselves in a position of authority where every decision is lose lose and no one is ever happy*

  • KAREN
    January 18, 2010 - 11:13

    GIVE IT ANOTHER COUPLE MORE YEARS SAY ABOUT 5 YEARS AND THERE WONT BE A THING IN SPRINGHILL EXCEPT THE PRISON THE RINK AND ANNE MURRAY CENTER WOW MIGHT AS WELL TAKE SPRINGHILL OFF THE MAP NOTHING LEFT TO GO AND SEE

  • Troy
    January 18, 2010 - 11:12

    Yep,,,thats where I would love to relocate to....hope they lower them taxes so I can afford to move there.

  • Concerned
    January 18, 2010 - 11:05

    Maybe Mayor Dill and the Council of Springhill should take a little closer look at facts. If the higher tax rate continues this may be our downfall of the town. I have listened to this topic of conversation in many circles. I even had a Halifax lady express that her family was considering moving to Springhill but the high taxes was a very important issue for her. Her point was that she was moving from the city to have a better life for her family and at the same time surviving with the cost of living. Some families are obvisiouly stretched with bills now. Higher taxes adds to their burden. I have also heard people in the town speaking about these same issues. If the rates of living in Springhill continue they will consider moving. How is the town going to pay for expenses if the population decreases? What is the incentive for folks to move here or stay here? I am aware that there are unexpected costs but every community has them. If the residents are expected to tighten their belts and hang on for the ride maybe Mayor Dill and the Council should as well. Every penny counts right! Does Mayor Dill and the Council get paid or have expense accounts for their services? If so would they be willing to take a cut in their incomes to help the town? People should be working together towards a goal of making Springhill a better place to live not driving people away. It's time to show the country that we can live and work together as a team...to be proud of where you live.

  • Jack on the rocks
    January 18, 2010 - 11:00

    Don't fret,you're still getting the new jail.HAHA

  • Max
    January 18, 2010 - 10:59

    Well that about does it. Between the province increasing assessments and now this town raising the tax rate to the highest in the province once again I am about to start convincing my wife that we need to get outta town. A previous comment was bang on. All Springhill is going to have left soon is the prison, the rink and the Anne Murray Center. Way to go Mr. Dill.

  • Another One
    January 18, 2010 - 10:57

    As quoted The town will have to provide Service Nova Scotia with is plan in September of this year showing how it will be dealing with the deficit and its reserve fund.
    Guess which Town is going to be next to raise the Deed Transfer Tax????? Amherst is raising it to 1.25% from 0.5% and the Municipality is coming in at 1.5%. Who is going to be able to afford to buy the new house to pay the property taxes???

  • Davos
    January 18, 2010 - 10:55

    The town should default on that PANS money, and dissolve the police force. Bring in the RCMP and be done with it. They'll be more effective.

  • TROY
    January 18, 2010 - 10:51

    oh yes...almost time to get another truck or car...the times are a good...lmao

  • CONCERNED
    January 18, 2010 - 10:50

    Mr. Dill, Please define what sustainable levels means to you, the taxpayers would be interested in knowing.

  • stumpdummy
    January 18, 2010 - 10:45

    this entire country is headed for a crash,Towns & municipalities everywhere keep raising assessments ,then taking a bigger and bigger chunk of that. It has to stop somewhere. The population cannot sustain the level of infrastructure we all think we need or want. We are almost half the population of the United Kingdom (Population: 60,943,912 July 2008 est. Google) spread like a light dusting across the north half of North America. We need a railroad to get the big stuff east & west. I would rather have a dirt road that could be graded a few times a year than the heaved ,cracked pot holed paved one I'm on. This country was built on the backs,or by the backs of the working man and small farmers with little tractors like the cub & Pony . The big horsepower is becoming unaffordable, less environmentally friendly, food safety is now an oxymoron, top execs taking huge bonuses, even if performance shows they really should be giving their everything including base salaries back ( CPP execs as latest example) Too much of the working class is paid for position rather than for production, especially in economies fed by taxes.Am I cynical,,,,maybe a bit ,,am I wrong ,,,,??

  • Billy Rae
    January 18, 2010 - 10:44

    no offence but the whole town of Springhill looks delapadated, seems llike every 3rd house looks like a crackhouse......no offence to the crack heads

  • jail bird
    January 18, 2010 - 10:43

    FYI ----- ANN MURRY ALREADY MOVER YEARS AGO AND I WAS LOOKING OUT MY WINDOW & SAW A EMPTY SCHOOL BUS HEADING FOR AMHERST THAT LEAVES THE RUSTONS AND THE ROSS,S HAVE AT ER BOYS SEE YOU WHEN I GET OUT

  • thinking of being a
    January 18, 2010 - 10:35

    Shouldn't the public have a say in this issue? I know I didn't. Springhill should come a village, bring in the RCMP and get rid of Don Tabor. This would help lower taxes. Mayor Dill, I'm sorry I voted for you. To the council, I only voted for one of you. Beginning to think, why do we need to pay the highest taxes?

  • Jim
    January 18, 2010 - 10:34

    Springhill has a future there just won't be anyone living there beacuse of the high taxes and terrible roads and it's always the previous councils' fault lol... There's no stores left in town now, let's drive up the taxes and chase what few businesses we have left out of town along with the citizens... Way to go town council!!!

  • Bob
    January 18, 2010 - 10:32

    I think Jim and dooms day people who can never be pleased have a point, perhaps Springhill should just give up and become a village. If you read newspapers across the province it seems every town has terrible roads, its a wonder we all havn't moved to Victoria BC. And lets ask Troy to give a comparison to the cost of living and taxes in Vicotira BC as opposed to Springhill. hmmm without checking those costs I'm going to guess its still cheaper to live in Springhill.

    This whole process by Springhill had public input. If people don't like the taxes then move elsewhere ... where presumably taxes are also being raised.

    I'm sure those who question the budget and wish to criticize have actually looked at it? I doubt anyone on this board has.

  • Gleneida
    January 18, 2010 - 10:31

    maybe we shouldn't be too hard on the council.... i know for a fact that doing a budget is difficult and in order to operate the town somtimes you have to raise the tax rate... don't forget that the mayor and councillors also pay taxes and i'm sure they do not make decisions lightly when it comes to increasing the taxes..somtimes they have no choice. it's easy to sit back and complain.... try looking at the whole picture and see if it's so easy to come up with all the answers...it's much easier just to point out the problems...